Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was the keynote speaker at the Indiana Ethanol Forum held Tuesday in Indianapolis. When Daniels came to office, Indiana had only 1 ethanol plant. Today there are 13 plants in Indiana producing over 1.126 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol. The Hoosier State now accounts for 7% of all the ethanol produced in the United States. Daniels told the gathering of corn, soybean, and ethanol leaders that he remains a strong advocate for biofuels but admits times have changed, “It is a bit lonely being an advocate for biofuels.” He said today many of those who first supported biofuels have now turned against it, “Especially those self-styled environmentalists.” But, he assured the crowd that he remains as committed to biofuels as ever.
Daniels said the food vs. fuel argument made by those who oppose biofuels is bogus, “The American farmer is more than up to the job of producing food and fuel.” Daniels says American agriculture can produce food at the most affordable prices people have ever seen, “A smaller portion of the American family budget goes for food than anywhere else on the plantet.” He added that the argument over subsidies for ethanol has gone away as the industry has eliminated government subsidies for ethanol.
With only 285 days left in his administration, Daniels says he has no regrets about his strong support for biofuels and for Indiana agriculture, “I feel more certain today than I did back in ’03 and ’04 that our commitment to agriculture was the right decision for this state.” Following the Governor’s remarks, both major candidates for governor, Congressman Mike Pence and former House Speaker John Gregg, addressed the forum and stated their strong support for biofuels and for Indiana agriculture.
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